Eclectic Orchestra Concert Features Mime, Youth Competition Winner, and World Premiere

Eclectic Orchestra Concert Features Mime, Youth Competition Winner, and World Premiere

TUCSON, AZ – The Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra presents an eclectic and dazzling concert on March 2nd in SaddleBrooke and March 3rd at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian. SASO’s 4th concert cycle of the season is full of variety, including a unique live performance by Tucson actor and choreographer Rick Wamer. Wamer will enact a wordless portrayal of the eponymous poem behind Paul Dukas’ famous tone poem, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, while the orchestra performs.

Additionally, this concert will feature Brazilian rising star clarinetist Lucas Ferreira performing Françaix’ Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra, as well as the SASO premiere performance of composer (and SASO violist) Richard White’s Concerto for English Horn, Strings, Harp, and Timpani, featuring soloist Sherry Jameson, SASO’s principal oboist.

SASO also welcomes Kai Skaggs, winner of the Senior Division of the 2019 Dorothy Vanek Youth Concerto Competition. Skaggs, 17, will perform the first movement of Dvorak’s Violin Concerto in A minor with the orchestra.

The orchestra will also perform two additional concert favorites: Jacques Offenbach’s Overture to Orpheus in the Underworld and Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio Espagnol. Both are exciting works full of colorful orchestration, instrumental solos, and well-known themes.

Lucas Ferreira

Clarinetist Lucas Ferreira was born in Rio de Janeiro and has garnered impressive awards for this early stage in his career. He has won several prestigious competitions including the Villa-Lobos Chamber Music Competition, Gramado in Concert Young Soloists, the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra Young Soloists Competition, and others. He will perform French composer Jean Françaix’ Clarinet Concerto, a Neo-Classical masterpiece and a true technical showpiece. The composer described the work as an “acrobatics display for the ear, complete with loops, wing-turns and nosedives which are fairly terrifying for the soloist, who needs to have a good stomach and several thousand flying hours under his belt.”

Rick Wamer is a physical actor, director, and choreographer with a 35+ year career. A student of Marcel Marceau, Rick’s solo performances, collaborations and residencies have delighted audiences of all ages in many locales around the world. The collaborative performance of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice with SASO will likely remind many of the famous Disney animated short from the 1940 film Fantasia. Though this unforgettable film is likely the first association many have with the work, the work’s inspiration actually comes from the 1797 poem by Goethe. This story is truly timeless, and Wamer and SASO are sure to give it a fresh and new life in this performance.

Kai Skaggs

Kai Skaggs, a senior at Canyon del Oro High School, has been playing violin since the age of four, and already has earned many notable accolades as a young musician. Skaggs, who studies with Professor Timothy Kantor, is no stranger to the orchestral stage. He is concertmaster of the Tucson Philharmonia Youth Orchestra and also performs in the Tucson Repertory Orchestra and the CDO High School Orchestra. In January, he was selected as the winner of SASO’s annual Dorothy Vanek Youth Concerto Competition, entitling him to perform the music of his winning audition with SASO. He will perform the first movement of Dvořák’s Violin Concerto in A minor, a demanding piece that is often programmed by professional orchestras and soloists.

Sherry Jameson

Sherry Jameson is frequently heard with SASO, as she is the group’s long-time principal oboist, but her performance takes center stage in the world-premiere performance of Richard White’s Concerto for English Horn, strings, harp, and timpani. The English horn, the larger cousin of the oboe, is typically is heard in supporting roles within the orchestra; however, Richard White chose to feature its warm tone in a soloist’s role, and the orchestration reflects well on the instrument’s character. White is also a long-time member of SASO, playing in the viola section. He has written many compositions, several of which can be heard on SASO’s “Celebration” CD.

Performances will be Saturday, March 2nd at 7:30 pm at DesertView Performing Arts Center, 39900 Clubhouse

Richard White

Drive (SaddleBrooke), and Sunday, March 3rd at 3:00 pm at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church at 7575 N Paseo del Norte. Tickets for the SaddleBrooke performance are available at, and tickets for the Tucson performance are available at or by calling 520-308-6226.

Founded in 1979, SASO has grown into a vital community resource that unites performers and audiences through a mutual love of music. The orchestra presents a wide range of compositions, including world premieres, seldom-performed treasures and popular classics. SASO brings together student, amateur and professional musicians with exceptional soloists, composers and conductors. Under the baton of Music Director Linus Lerner, this local community orchestra has twice traveled to China, performed three times in Oaxaca, Mexico, once in Brazil and for the past three summers at the San Luis Potosí Opera Festival in Mexico.  SASO presents five programs each season in two or more locations. For more information, visit or call (520) 308-6226.


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SASO’s Story

Alan Schultz became music director in Year 2 and continued leading SASO for 15 seasons. He frequently conducted from the keyboard—organ or harpsichord. He also composed several works premiered by SASO.
One spring SASO proved it has animal attraction. When it played at the Reid Park Zoo, some of the critters sang along with the music
The visionary founders of SASO were Barbara and Bill Chinworth, Scott Bracher and Janet Lombard. Barbara has played with SASO through its entire history, originally in the horn section, now on bass.
The first concert was Oct. 28, 1979, conducted by former University of Arizona music professor Henry Johnson, featuring Jonathan Kramer in a Boccherini cello concerto.
Adam Boyles was the music director for three seasons, bringing bountiful youthful energy and a passion to serve the music. Then the Tucson native moved East to brave the snow and conduct the orchestra at MIT in Boston.
In December 1995 SASO was the first to present a concert at SaddleBrooke. This was the brainstorm of concertmaster Sam Kreiling. The concert sold out, as did a four-concert series the following year. SASO has performed there ever since.
Turkish maestro Orhan Salliel, after guest-conducting SASO in the fall of 2012, wrote to us, "The time in Tucson I shared with you in SASO for me was so special. I felt the real love of music from the bottom of everyone's hearts. It was something I do not feel often—never, ever in the professional world anymore. Please keep it, save it, try to build everything from this power of love for music."
The largest event SASO has produced was Berlioz Te Deum, presented at the Tucson Community Center Music Hall with the Tucson Civic Orchestra, Tucson Masterworks Chorale, Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus and Pima College Singers.
Brazilian-born Linus Lerner, in his first year as music director, challenged the orchestra to learn his native Latin rhythms by playing Villa-Lobos. This proved surprisingly hard to do. We finally got it, but not until the week of the concert.
Our most famous alumnus is Rico Saccani, associate conductor of SASO our inaugural year and piano soloist for the second concert. He later conducted opera companies and orchestras around the world and was music director of the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra from 1985 to 2005.
SaddleBrooke is home to many of our loyal donors and the place where we’ve held our gala celebrations—first a black-tie dinner with music from "Phantom of the Opera" and later our annual StarStruck Gala evenings from 2008 through 2013.
Early audiences had to be loyal followers of this itinerant orchestra, which performed all over the city, frequently in churches. In the 1980s SASO rented the Temple of Music and Art for a concert. The City of Tucson condemned the building the morning of the dress rehearsal and the concert was canceled.
Composer, pianist and conductor Warren Cohen served as music director for eight seasons, routinely commuting from his home in Phoenix, but one year all the way from Hawaii. His wife, coloratura Carolyn Whitacre, was a favorite soloist.
The most colorful performance was a Halloween concert in Nogales—a ghoulish event where the conductor was a clown and all the musicians were in costume.